Helping Your Child Cope When Trauma Hits Your Family

There are certain situations we sometimes face in which life throws us a bit of a curveball. It may come when we are least expecting it, and be in the form of something surprising or shocking, such as a family tragedy or a personal injury. Dealing with these things as an adult is never fun, nor easy – so for the children in your family, things can be even more challenging. Children are extremely impressionable at this young age. They may not be able to fully comprehend the issue at hand, and this, in turn, can result in them becoming scared and confused. Or, if they are a little older, they may understand the situation fully, but not know how to deal with it. All of this is, of course, a mere aspect of growing up and shaping your child’s character. But that doesn’t mean it’s something they have to go through alone. In your role as their parent, it is your job to use your experiences to guide them through this difficult time in their lives, whatever the reason behind it may be. Here are some things you can do to make their lives easier during a traumatic time, and equip them with personal skills that will follow them into adulthood too.

Minimize your stress first

This might seem irrelevant when we are talking about the trauma that is affecting your child, not you directly. However, there is no way you can be expected to help your child if you are still suffering yourself. Do everything in your power to straighten out the issue as best you can before your child even gets wind of it. If you or a family member have been hurt, for example, speak to the right lawyers for personal injury matters as soon as you can. This way, you won’t be worrying about the legalities of your potential claim so much, and you’ll be in a much better headspace to calm and reassure your child.

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Talk openly…

… to an extent. Hiding the issue away can often be problematic as if your child does find out that you were keeping things from them an even bigger rift could be caused. If you feel they are mature enough, encourage the whole family to talk about the issue openly and honestly – this can help to minimize the fear your child will feel when the topic is mentioned. However, the extent to which you do this largely depends on your child’s age and maturity.

Carry on your daily routine

Your child will sense something is seriously wrong if you start to deviate from your normal routine. Kids depend hugely on routine to feel secure and relaxed, so try and deep as much of this in place as you can for them. This means getting up at the same times, continuing to eat meals as a family (this can also be a good time to talk if you feel it’s right) and continuing to take your child to their after-school clubs. It may feel strange at first, but you would be surprised at how much reassurance sticking to your routine can bring.

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